International Piano magazine review

3rd January 2015 | Books, Reviews | 2 comments

There’s a nice review of my new book, Sleeping in Temples, in the Jan/Feb issue of International Piano magazine. I know from my own attempts that it isn’t always easy to track down this interesting magazine, so I thought I’d take the chance to reproduce an excerpt here:

‘Unlike other pianists, whose blogs can too often be egoistic whinges about the rigours of being worshipped on tour, Tomes writes with enough literary panache to blend into the tradition of the British essay. Her writing is somewhat akin to GK Chesterton’s ‘A Piece of Chalk’ or ‘What I Found In My Pocket’. … The book’s somewhat esoteric title refers to an ancient Greek attempt to ‘incubate dreams’, which Tomes likens to spending a lifetime with piano masterworks ….   a captivating reverie of a book.’

I have been very fortunate with the specialist music magazines’ reaction to my book, but my goal is still to see it mentioned in the mainstream press, which so often chooses to ignore news from the classical music world. An ambition for the new year!


  1. Pat Guy

    Congratulations on a highly deserved review. I share your concern that serious writing about music is too often neglected by mainstream media. Even here in western Washington where there’s a decent sized audience for serious music and concerts are well attended, newspapers rarely carry reviews.

    Perhaps we’ve grown so accustomed to this neglect that those of us who care rarely pester book reviewers to cover books such as yours to mend their ways and abandon their assumption that too few readers will have interest to warrant serious attention? Let’s begin a pestering campaign. I’ll send this blog to the Seattle Times and to the New York Times. If others of us join this effort by writing to major media as a demonstration of our interest, perhaps, little by little, we will persuade editors that there is a sufficient audience to justify reviewing space. Isn’t it worth a try?

    • Susan Tomes

      Well, Pat, what an offer! I’m grateful to you for even thinking of it. Here in the UK it is also rare to see reviews of classical music books. One literary editor went so far as to admit to me that the newspaper wouldn’t be reviewing my book because the subject matter was not of interest to enough of their readers. But how can they know that if they don’t publish reviews of interesting stuff? You can create the interest to some extent, I’d imagine, by putting the subject matter in front of readers. If editors restrict their choices to what they imagine their readers will tolerate, it’s a slippery downward slope, isn’t it?

      Apart from a very welcome mention on Alex Ross’s influential blog, I have had no reviews yet of my new book in the US. It would be wonderful to have some attention, so … let’s hope.


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